Tag Archives: 1970

1970 : Pollards Hill Estate rents for new 5-person houses too high

Rents of about £9 plus a week which will be charged on soon to be completed homes in the new Pollards Hill Housing Estate are being scoffed at by council tenants.

Tenants at present living in overcrowded conditions are being given the opportunity to move to future new homes on the 850-dwellings estate. However, the common reaction is ”These rates are too high by far – we can’t move unless they are brought down.”

The higher rents come in as a part of the rent structure for new tenancies – based on 210% of gross value on houses and 185% on flats – brought in by Merton Council.

Borough Housing Manager Mr A.A. Brown said 1,000 tenants had so far been invited to move into the new Pollards Hill Estate when their five and six person houses and flats become available.

Small response

“But the response of people interested in moving has been small,” he said.

Mr Brown was confident, however, that no flats or houses on the new development will be left empty when they were completed by the summer of 1971.

“I am sure they will be quickly occupied from the council waiting list.”

Among the existing tenants who have been given the opportunity of moving is 42 year old printer Mr John Uren.

Father of a teenage son and daughter, he would be entitled to move into a new 3-bedroom house from his four-guinea-a-week, two bedroom flat on the post-war estate at Pollards Hill.

“But I doubt I if I shall accept the offer – anyone who would pay £9 a week rent could just as well by their own new home,” Mr Uren said.

And Pollards Hill Estate tenants Association secretary Mr Dennis Small said these are not rents for ordinary council tenants at all – the council are only catering for people with big incomes. To pay the kind of rents the council asking for their new homes, a man would need to earn up to £40 a week.”

The new rents for a strongly opposed by the council’s labour minority. Said Councillor D.W. Chalkley, sole Labour representative on the housing committee: “With better handling of the housing account, these new tenancy rents could have been contained within the existing structure, which the Government would not have permitted to be raised.

“With such high rates, most people are quite naturally scared off.”

Merton’s letter inviting overcrowded tenants to move to Pollards Hill drew attention to the recently improved rent rebate scheme.

Prefer to pay

“But most tenants would prefer to pay their way rather than hope they will continue to qualify for rebates,” Councillor Chalkley commented.

“And, in any case, the present scheme where one council tenant subsidises another is wrong – it should be spread evenly amongst all ratepayers.”

Official opening of the first to five person houses at Pollards Hill will be carried out by Mitcham MP Mr Robert Carr, January 28.

Mitcham Building Society

Building society that was at number 173 London Road, CR4 2JB, on the corner with Downe Road.

According to the Building Societies Association Handbook (pdf), the Mitcham Building Society merged with the South Metropolitan Permanent in July 1977 to form the Mitcham & Metropolitan. It also had a branch at 38 Stafford Road, Wallington, SM6 9AA. Transfer was then made to the Sussex County in April 1986.

c. 1987 clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​7_​1-93 copyright London Borough of Merton

Established 1883 according to this account book from 1970:

Account book with a start date of January 1970

Barry Hopkins

Described in the Mitcham News & Mercury as aged 19, singer from Mount Road, Mitcham.

He visited Pye Records in March 1970 to promote his single.

Pop singer visits record factory

Barry Hopkins, the 19-year-old Mitcham singer, visited Pye Records Ltd., Western Road, Mitcham, recently to help promote his debut disc, “Love Ya, Want Ya, Need Ya.“

The record, which is being published on a Sparks label and being distributed by Pye, sold over 2,000 records in one week. Sales have now reached the 3,000 plus mark.

During this month he will be doing a television programme in the Channel Islands and will also be doing cabaret there for an evening.

While in Liverpool recently he did two radio shows, one for Radio Merseyside and the other for European Services.

During February Barry made three appearances at the Tower, Blackpool where critics compared his talent to that of such accomplished artists as Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard.

His record, which people are predicting as a chart buster, is also doing well in Germany.

Barry, who lives in Mount Road, has always wanted to be in show business. He was spotted by Herbert Wilcox, while playing Kipps in the Wimbledon Players’ production of “Half a Sixpence.”

He was then put in touch with Ben Lyon, who is now his agent and manager, and things have just snowballed for him ever since. All his fans will be pleased to know that work is to begin shortly on a follow-up record.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th March, 1970

List of records by Barry Hopkins.

He died of cancer in January 2014, aged 64. For more on his career see on this pantomine blog (scroll down to 9th January 2014 entry).

Chrome Print Ltd.

Eveline Road from 1956, then moved to Bond Road

Silk screen printers

Lithographic and photographic printers and bookbinders

Moved to Coulsdon in 1980s – according to a person on the Facebook Mitcham History group.

Adverts from British Newspaper Archive

FEMALE STAFF rqd. by printers for their new premises opening shortly in Mitcham. (1) Staff vacancy for photographic section: some previous experience essential: work would entail retouching.
(2) Label puncher.
(3) Machine feeder.


Norwood News – Friday 10 August 1956

YOUNG WOMEN AND GIRLS aged between 18 and 30 years for interesting and well paid work in Mitcham area; no previous experience rqd. but applicants should be active and intelligent and capable of doing fine work; 42 hour week. plus overtime. Why not apply for interview?
This may be the job you are looking for.

Norwood News – Friday 17 June 1960

Ad for staff in January 1970:

Text of ad:

Chrome Print
of Mitcham
have a variety of
interesting jobs



17/35 years of age for clean, interesting work, 40-hour
week, overtime available. Time-keeping bonus
and choice of extra bonus.


about 18 years of age for Stores work and training
on guillotine.

Male and Female assistants for
Must be accurate at measurements.


Preferably with experience of Photo-mechanical work.

Chrome Print Ltd., Bond Road, Mitcham

Tel: 648 5251

News Articles
Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 10th March, 1961

No girls

MiICHAM factories are facing a shortage of girl labour.
Today’s youngsters prefer the office to the machine shop, they

One firm is Chrome Print Ltd., quality colour printers of Eveline Road.

They have a bright, modern factory with good working conditions but they find difficulty in getting young factory girls.

A firm’s spokesman said this week: “We have always had this problem. The type of girl suitable is between 17 and 30 prepared to stay with us permanently. But they don’t seem toexist in Mitcham.”

Mitcham’s Youth Employment Officer, Mr. G. Ellis, said it was an old problem.

“Girls today would rather work in an office,” he said.
“They think that factory work is beneath them.”

Chrome Print’s products range from colour display cards, packages and labels for cosmetic firms, to brochures and illustrated literature,

They have factories in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, U.S.A., and Italy.

They pride themselves on their fine line printings and gloss lettering.

1970 Families flee gas plant blasts

From the Daily Express, 24th September, 1970

EXPLOSIONS roared through a gas bottling plant last night – and the bangs could be heard over half of London.

From Middlesex to Farnborough, Kent, people were roused by the blasts. The glow from the flames could be seen in Putney.

THE BLASTS at the plant in Church Road, Mitcham, hurled pieces of molten cylinders high in the air.

No one was injured but 100 firemen who raced to the scene from all over South London faced the hazard of a broken gas supply main.


They quickly brought a fierce fire in the two-storey factory itself under control, however. Fifty families were evacuated from houses most closely affected. A police spokesman said more might have to be moved from a nearby council estate.

THE SOUND of the explosions were heard as far away as Epsom, Wandsworth, and Bromley.

Streets around the area were littered with chunks of gas canisters, several of which were hurled over 300 yds, and lay hissing in the streets while firemen doused them with foam.

Mr Brian Courtney, an ambulanceman in Caterham 10 miles away, said : “The sky was bright red lighting up everything for miles.”

AT 1 A.M. gas cylinders were still exploding. An adjoining factory was badly damaged and neighbouring shopfronts were blown in.

Tesco, London Road

286 London Road, CR4 3NB

The Tesco supermarket was opened around 1970 on the ground floor of Deseret House, London Road.

When it was announced by Tesco that this supermarket was to close, local MP Siobhain McDonagh wrote to the chief executive. Tesco then agreed to open a smaller ‘express’ store next door, in the building called Standor House. This store has the words ‘Established 2005’ written on the front, top left of its banner. See Google StreetView below.

The Tesco Express closed on 5th November 2016.

Photos on Merton Memories
c. 1970